Dougherty County coroner covers Time Magazine, shares crippling effects of COVID-19

The coronavirus outbreak hit Dougherty County particularly hard. Michael Fowler is the Dougherty County coroner and was recently featured in Time Magazine

The 62-year-old shared how he and others on the frontlines in his county are dealing with the devastating effects of COVID-19.

Fowler told Time Magazine: 

"The virus started spreading at a couple of funerals. Those individuals who attended the funerals went back into their neighborhoods, homes, and churches, and more people were infected. It hit like a bomb. Within a week, three people died in one day. All three had the same symptoms, so we had them tested and all came back positive. Ever since then, every day there’s someone dying with this virus. Recently, five people died in one day. I’m getting called different times of the night to go out and work a case, to try to figure out what happened prior to that person dying. Did the person have a fever? Were they coughing? Were they aching? Were they having difficulty breathing? So many phone calls are coming in now that it’s overwhelming. I’m getting very little sleep now."

On April 1, Dougherty County Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson died from COVID-19. Officials said she died in the emergency room at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. 

Georgia judge dies of coronavirus

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital has faced high demand since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak. In early April the hospital opened a seventh COVID-19 unit and a fourth ICU.